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Linguaholic

Moving to Spanish Speaking Country


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I had a couple of friends who moved to Korea to be English teachers. They taught the English language to kids/teens and others, thus picking up the native language themselves. So, has anyone here moved to a Spanish speaking country to pick up the language better or even considered it? I was thinking it would be a great idea, especially if you went there to teach English or whatever your native tongue is. I figure it is like trading one language for another.

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I'm about to finish my master's degree in Spanish linguistics, but I will move to Mexico next June to teach English there as my career (my secondary concentration is in foreign language pedagogy). I studied abroad in Mexico in 2009, and it was amazing to see the difference in my abilities after I came back. The difficult things is that it often seems like you're not improving your language abilities while you're there if you compare yourself to native speakers, but when you compare yourself to yourself you can really see the difference.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone is to not erroneously think any native speaker of English can teach English as a foreign language. Not only do people need an understanding of basic theory in foreign language teaching, they also need some awareness of the English language from the perspective of it as a foreign language. As an example with theory, do you know what "input" and "output" are, and why they are important? Can you think of examples of activities that provide "meaning-bearing input"? For an example with the English language, do you know what "third-person singular s" is or how negation works in English?

Training is very necessary. I cringe to think what I did when I tried to teach English at a community center with zero training. Of course, I didn't have a textbook and tried to make my own materials, but at least having a textbook to follow is very necessary if you're beginning.

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What SirTenenbaum is very true though I believe some languages can be taught by force. Imagine growing up in a foreign country where the language is completely different. When I knew very little English, I had to adapt fast because I was in grade 3 when I moved to Canada and I didn't even know what the teacher was saying during my first year of school. From there I just picked up on the language and even began to forget my original language, Arabic. Now my English is stronger than my Arabic which isn't really a good thing lol.

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I agree that training is necessary, but you can also come to a country with no knowledge what-so-ever and you will pick the language up, especially if you have two. I have met two friends from Moldavia that learned Portuguese on the streets...

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I figure that a lot of what language you pick up, would be slang and such. You might pick up a lot of the language, but whether or not it is correct grammar might not be known. I am not sure if I could be an English teacher. I find myself Googling correct grammar all the time!

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I have met many people who went to Latin America to learn or improve their Spanish. Some of them knew very few Spanish words while others had studied the language for years. In the end all of them can communicate quite easily with Spanish speakers. Maybe it is more difficult to write, as grammatical mistakes are not ignored when you write.

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I've never thought about it, but now when I imagine going to a Spanish-speaking country, I get all tingly inside. It would be such a great journey, not only to learn a language or how to speak properly, it's a cultural immersion which will help you grow and develop as a person, and as I like to believe, you aren't fluent in the language until you are in harmony with it's cultural origins. But yes, there also comes the fact that you will pick it up and speak it faster than you can imagine, at least that's what I've heard from friends.

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I actually looked into teaching Spanish in Spain. I even started browsing expat sties for Spain. But I couldn't find any legit jobs. It doesn't help that Spain has been going through their own depression. I've been waiting for the economy to get better. But that doesn't seem to be happening.

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I've never considered permanently living in a Spanish speaking country - because, OMG, that sounds awesome but I'd be a bit homesick for what I'm used to currently! I'd like to visit maybe even work there for a few months to a couple of years. That would be ideal for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've always worried that the American spanish I've learned won't hold up in a Spanish speaking country.  I've been toying with the thought of moving to Uruguay, but know that their spanish is very different from American/Spanish spanish.  I'd have to do an immersion course to fix this I assume?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a Canadian living in Mexico and thus trying to learn Spanish. I need to immerse myself into the language more as I'm struggling with spoken Spanish. I can read it pretty well and pick out the words I need to say to get my point across but I can't have a conversation with someone, at all.

In daily activities I come across so many Spanish speakers that are eager to practise their English on me that I forget that I need to reply in Spanish to better help myself. Speaking English is just so darn automatic. I can get by, in the sense that I can order what I want, ask for directions, understand basic requests etc. but, man, I'd really love to be able to have an actual conversation with someone.

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